Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Les Paul style controls in a Telecaster

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Recalcitrant, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. Recalcitrant

    Recalcitrant TDPRI Member

    Mar 31, 2017
    Teles and Pauls do have a some things in common: a pair of pickups, and a three-way switch. Les Pauls are known for the wide pallet of tones in the middle switch position. What if you modded a Tele so each pickup had its own volume and treble knobs?

    I mod my Teles frequently, and ordinarily I wouldn't say the result is much superior to original stock. But I tried the LP scheme recently, and I found it useful enough to share.

    I was able to find concentric 250KA pots and diminutive chrome concentric knobs at The pots and 3-way can be wired as in these diagrams. I think the stacked knobs look fine.


    The results don't change the sound of the front and back pickups played solo. But together they can be mixed in ways ranging from customary middle tones, to a neck tone with bite , or a bridge sound with some width. I like the mod, and figure I'll keep it, at least for now.

    You can find concentric stacked 500KA pots, as an alternative, everywhere. I found they made me roll the tone knobs more. And I wouldn't use less than .047uF caps. In other words, using common Les Paul values makes the result a little bright.


    Who would find this useful? Often you come across neck and bridge pups that are each awesome played solo, but don't blend well. This mod allows balance and tone capabilities. Some players like a little neck sound to fatten up the bridge, and vice-versa. This makes it easy. Finally, it allows new sounds, or at least ones you don't hear as often. I like a bright neck sound, and found I can add punch to it by blending in the bridge that's been darkened up.

    On the down side, it is a little fiddly. While the sounds can be rich, will they, as the great George Jones said, hear it in those beer joints? And you may like your current middle sound just fine. But I just play at home, and I like the extra functionality. Best wishes.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
    nojazzhere likes this.

  2. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    I have dual stacked VOL/TONE on my mule (Warmoth) Tele.

  3. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Meister

    Feb 11, 2013
    I'm a big fan of creativity and anything that works for you is great. I have a friend (and mentor) who can play any instrument you hand him and for an electric guitar he likes a Tele. His personal has an extra volume control squoze in.
    The ability to mix p'ups is what keeps a Gibby style interesting for me. Tone controls are the secondary consideration. Strats and Teles are, for me, a different kind of sword. All good options.

  4. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Friend of Leo's

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    I have modified dual pickup guitars with separate volume and tone to using combined V and T for both pickups. I don't like "fiddling" with controls when I'm singing and playing, plus I tend to like the sound of both pickups in equal output. This is one of the many reasons I like Teles....I want to "Keep It Simple, Stupid".....

  5. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    One thing to be careful about is that you really don't control the blend with both pickups on because either one of the volume controls will bring the whole thing down. There is a way to wire the volume controls so that they're independent (you connect the pickup to the center lug of the volume pot, and the output to the toggle switch or jack comes off of the outer lug, which is backwards from normal wiring). This allows you to blend the pickups and each volume control will have more of an effect on its own pickup. Gibson never used it stock because it makes it impossible to turn the guitar entirely off with one volume knob at zero.

  6. user34603

    user34603 Tele-Meister

    Dec 5, 2016
    Richmond VA
    ... I am about to have a concentric pot as the 2 tones for a Tele. Inside knob as the neck tone and ring as the bridge tone. I already have a 4-way switch for 'both pups on in series' , but wanted separate tone control for each pickup. Is that what you got with your scheme?

  7. MatthewK

    MatthewK Tele-Holic

    Jul 29, 2009
    Hobart, Australia
    I achieved this by purchasing a "Telecaster Custom" although a "Telecaster Deluxe" will also fit the bill.

  8. dmoss74

    dmoss74 Tele-Holic

    Mar 28, 2010
    i had a tele with a p90 in the neck and was debating doing this to get a 500k pot for the p90, but sold the guitar before doing the mod. but your mod is just as interesting.

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